Saturday, December 28, 2013

A&E Lifts Suspension of Phil Robertson

On Friday, A&E reversed its suspension of Duck Dynasty patriarch Phil Robertson and filming of the reality series will soon resume. Robertson had been suspended indefinitely by A&E on December 18th for remarks he made about homosexuals and blacks in an interview with GQ.  I’m not surprised the suspension didn’t last. It wasn’t really much of a suspension in the first place. A&E continued to air repeats of Duck Dynasty and even did a 24-hour marathon on Christmas Day. Of course, the suspension didn’t work because a) the Robertson family closed ranks and b) Duck Dynasty viewers closed ranks around the Robertson family including Louisiana Governor Bobby Jindal and Sarah Palin and c) A&E didn’t want to lose ratings and money...more

Friday, December 27, 2013

10 Reasons Why I Want A Cowboy For A Son-In-Law


I am so thankful that my lovely daughter (the only girl I’ve ever known who could rival her charm, intellect and beauty is her mom), has not reached the stage where she is dating. Yet, I know that day is coming.

A friend who has daughters mentioned that he hopes his daughters don’t date a cowboy. I know what he meant, but the following is why I hope if when the day comes, my daughter selects a cowboy rather than a boy.

1. A cowboy takes risks every day, but they are calculated risks backed by a skill set. A boy takes unnecessary risks.
2. A cowboy will own up to his mistakes. A boy will make excuses for them.
3. A cowboy will extend you respect until you prove you don’t deserve it. A boy respects only those who can offer something in return.
4. A cowboy will do whatever it takes to support his family and take care of the land and the animals in which he has been entrusted.  A boy looks for others to take care of him.
5. A cowboy takes the long view. A boy lives in the moment.
6. A cowboy is always looking to earn the respect of others. A boy is looking to gain attention from others.
7. A cowboy is firm in his beliefs and values, regardless of the situation. A boy changes his beliefs based on those he is around.
8. A cowboy has integrity. A boy makes promises he knows he won’t keep; he writes checks he knows he can’t cash.
9. A cowboy is always willing to learn. A boy thinks he knows everything.
10. A cowboy looks for quality, whether it’s in cattle, horses or women. A boy looks for something that he thinks will make him look good.

Thursday, December 26, 2013

Budweiser Commercials - The Majestic Clydesdales

North Carolina judge rules Possum Drop can take place as planned on New Year's Eve

A North Carolina judge ruled on Monday that a mountain town's New Year’s Eve celebration can include the lowering of a captured possum at midnight as planned despite protests from People for the Ethical Treatment of Animals (PETA). PETA petitioned Superior Court Judge Allen Baddour to ban the annual Possum Drop in Brasstown next week, but he elected to allow the town to continue enjoying a possum-tinged taste of Times Square on New Year’s Eve. The live possum is dropped to the ground in a plastic box in a similar way to how a mirrored ball is lowered at midnight at Times Square in New York City. The Wildlife Resources Commission gave Clay Logan a permit for the event on Friday. He said this isn’t the first time that PETA has tried to put a stop to the annual event and that he went as far as to use a dead possum once in an effort to pacify the organization. “If I thought there was anything to traumatize this possum, I wouldn’t do it,” Logan said. “It’s not that I’m being really stubborn … it’s either (PETA’s) way or the highway.” Logan got the idea for the Possum Drop 24 years ago when he discovered canned possum during a trip to Mississippi. “The population of Brasstown is small, we hadn’t grown a whole lot in the last 200-300 years,” Logan said. “We had to come up with some kind of gimmick. It’s good, clean, family fun, and there’s no alcohol and everybody brings their kids.” The possum is released after the drop. UPI

Things are looking up folks.  Santa's shooting wolves, we can drop a possum anytime we want, Duck Dynasty is making a killing, Tuffy the rodeo clown is "Person of the Year", I'm putting on a Jaguar Jackpot at the Martinez Arena next week and I just can't wait to see who wins Miss Possum 2014.  

Then again, maybe I can wait.  Here's the winner from 2010.

Mystery illness claims more bald eagles in Utah

Something is killing bald eagles in Utah, and wildlife officials are scrambling to diagnose the mysterious illness before it spreads. At least 16 bald eagles have died since the beginning of the month, with another rescued bird likely facing the same puzzling fate, state wildlife officials said Tuesday. About half of the bald eagles identified since Dec. 1 were discovered dead, while the other half died or were euthanized at rehabilitation centers. A lab in Madison, Wis., is conducting blood work and toxicology screenings, the results of which may not be available for a couple of weeks, said DaLyn Erickson-Marthaler, executive director of the Wildlife Rehabilitation Center of Northern Utah. One possibility being considered is poisoning, either intentional or accidental, although the affected birds have been found in different counties throughout Utah — not just one area. “This is hard to treat because we don’t know exactly what it is,” said Leslie McFarlane, wildlife disease coordinator for the Utah Division of Wildlife Resources. She added that officials haven’t noticed similar symptoms in other animals. Before they die, the bald eagles are found to have weakness in their legs, which turns into paralysis of one leg and then the other, said Erickson-Marthaler. The birds also experience head tremors and then seizures. They typically die three or four days later...more

Come on Utah.  We all know what's killing these birds...its global warming. 

Wednesday, December 25, 2013

Merry Christmas from The Westerner

It’s a Very Merry Christmas for Washington’s Parasite Class

by  Daniel J. Mitchell

Last year, while writing about the sleazy and self-serving behavior at the IRS, I came up with a Theorem that explains day-to-day behavior in Washington.

It might not be as pithy as Mitchell’s Law, and it doesn’t contain an important policy prescription like Mitchell’s Golden Rule, but it could be the motto of the federal government.

Simply stated, government is a racket that benefits the DC political elite by taking money from average people in America

I realize this is an unhappy topic to be discussing during the Christmas season, but the American people need to realize that they are being raped and pillaged by the corrupt insiders that control Washington and live fat and easy lives at our expense.

If you don’t believe me, check out this mapshowing that 10 of the 15 richest counties in America are the ones surrounding our nation’s imperial capital.
Who would have guessed that the wages of sin are so high?

But even though the District of Columbia isn’t on the list, that doesn’t mean the people actually living in the capital are suffering.

Here are some interesting nuggets from a report in the Washington Business Journal.
D.C. residents are enjoying a personal income boom. The District’s total personal income in 2012 was $47.28 billion, or $74,733 for each of its 632,323 residents, according to the Office of the Chief Financial Officer’s Economic and Revenue Trends report for November. The U.S. average per capita personal income was $43,725.
Why is income so much higher? Well, the lobbyists, politicians, bureaucrats, interest groups, contractors, and other insiders who dominate DC get much higher wages than people elsewhere in the country.
And they get far higher fringe benefits.
In terms of pure wages, D.C., on a per capita basis, was 79 percent higher than the national average in 2012 — $36,974 to $20,656. …Employee benefits were 102 percent higher in D.C. than the U.S. average in 2012, $7,514 to $3,710. Proprietor’s income, 137 percent higher — $9,275 to $3,906. …The numbers suggest D.C. residents are living the high life.
Now let’s share a chart from Zero Hedge. It uses median household income rather than total personal income, so the numbers don’t match up, but what’s noteworthy is how DC income grew faster than the rest of the nation during the Bush years and then even more dramatically diverged from the rest of the country during the Obama years.

In other words, policies like TARP, the fake stimulus, and Obamacare have been very good for Washington’s ruling class.


Things you didn't know about reindeer

Here are some interesting things you may not have known about reindeer:


Of course reindeer can't fly but they can run quickly over long distances.
"Reindeer are fast, but not as fast as horses," says Jonas Vannar, a Sami reindeer herder from Jokkmokk in Swedish Lapland. "They can easily travel 40 to 50 kilometers (24 to 31 miles) a day if they have to."
The migratory animals can roam 125 miles (200 kilometers) or more in the spring from their winter grazing grounds in the forests to reach calving grounds high in the mountains.
"On hot summer days, they migrate vertically ... until they reach snow patches where the temperature is lower, then back to the valleys, to graze during the midnight sun," says Vannar.


Reindeer are also uniquely adapted to survive the harsh Lapland winters, explains Mari Heikkila, director of Ranua Wildlife Park in Finland.
"The hair of the reindeer is hollow, so there is air between the hairs and also inside the hair, and their winter coat is really thick," Heikkila says.
That makes them super-insulated, one reason why Samis have always made their winter clothes from reindeer hides.
Reindeer also have large hooves compared to moose or deer. When the snow is deep, they spread their hooves and make them even wider to stop themselves from sinking in.


Reindeer eyes change color between summer and winter to adapt to the widely varying levels of light in the high north.
"The reflection from reindeer eyes is yellow-green in summer ... but deep blue in winter," says Karl-Arne Stokkan, a professor at the University of Tromsoe in Norway, part of a scientific team that discovered earlier this year why that is.
Due to the extremely limited light in the far northern winter, reindeer's eyes need to be much more sensitive to light then than in summer. The blue color during the darkest months of the year helps scatter more incoming light and results in better vision, says Stokkan.


Reindeer meat is a popular staple across Lapland. In Finland, demand for the gamey, low-fat meat outstrips the supply, so it has to import reindeer meat from Russia.
A reindeer cooking competition is held in the northern Finnish town of Inari each year, where Sami chefs pit their traditional recipes against modern culinary arts.
Traditionally, Finnish Sami have used all parts of the reindeer, making dishes such as reindeer sausage or stuffed reindeer stomach. A more common dish is sauteed reindeer with mashed potatoes and lingonberry jam.
At the Kaunispaan Huippu restaurant in the northern Finnish town of Saariselka, the menu features such delicacies as smoked reindeer mousse with blackcurrant sauce and reindeer with Lappish cheese.
"Our special way to cook reindeer meat is to hot-smoke the roast on an open fire," says chef Jorma Lehtinen, who then fries the meat in rosemary butter.
Reindeers are slaughtered in late autumn or early winter but their meat can be frozen and used throughout the year.


In popular culture, eight flying reindeer pull Santa's sleigh as he delivers presents to children around the world on Christmas Eve. That scenario was first described in the 1820s by American poet Clement Clarke Moore. More than 100 years later, American writer Robert L. May added Rudolph with his red nose leading the way.
Some of the story is rooted in reality, as migrating reindeer herds are usually led by a single animal.
But there's debate on the origins of the flying reindeer, and some have traced it to reindeer eating hallucinogenic mushrooms. Ancient Sami shamans, the theory goes, would then drink filtered reindeer urine and get high themselves, then think they were seeing their reindeer "flying."
"Mushrooms have been used to a certain extent in shamanic ceremonies," says Arja Jomppanen, a researcher at Sida, the National Museum of the Finnish Sami in Inari. "But drinking urine has not been mentioned in accounts of Sami traditions."
Hakan Rydving, an expert in Sami religion at Norway's University of Bergen, firmly rejected the theory as a myth.
"There is no such information at all from the Sami world, neither about drinking the urine of reindeer, nor of seeing flying reindeer in their dreams," he said.


Reindeer can't walk too far without answering the call of nature. In fact, they are unable to walk and pee at the same time, so they have to take a bathroom break roughly every 6 miles. In Finnish, this distance is known as "poronkusema" or "reindeer's piss" and was an old-fashioned description of distances in the countryside.


Tuesday, December 24, 2013

Members of Congress Win Right to Say 'Merry Christmas' Without Ethics Violation

Rep. Tim Huelskamp (R-KS) has won a major battle against the politically correct left’s “War on Christmas,” he announced in a press release on Christmas Eve on Tuesday. Since 1973, U.S. House rules made it an ethics violation for any official congressional communications to contain the phrase “Merry Christmas.” This month, after battling the system for the more than two years since he took office in 2011, Huelskamp was able to get the House to determine it will not consider use of the phrase “Merry Christmas” an ethics violation. “For decades the PC Police have intimidated Christians throughout America with their attacks on the symbols and language of Christmas,” Huelskamp said in a statement released midday on Christmas Eve. “From nativity scenes to Christmas trees, those opposed to Christmas has sought to eradicate any reason for the season from the public square. And Congress has not been exempted.” Huelskamp noted the history of the U.S. House’s War on Christmas before detailing how he has won this battle in the war. “Amazingly since 1973, the U.S. House of Representatives has forbidden the use of ‘Merry Christmas’ and deemed use of such words in any official mailing or e-mail an ethics violation,” Huelskamp said. “Instead, they demanded the use of ‘Happy Holidays.’ This month, the House Franking Commission accepted the position I have fought for since arriving in Congress—ignore the PC Police and let us use ‘Merry Christmas.’”...more

Outrage as Army bans word ‘Christmas’: ‘Treats pornography better than it does Christmas’

The Army got a stern warning from a Defense Department representative recently. Avoid the word “Christmas” under all circumstances. An equal opportunity officer delivered the message to leaders of the 158th Infantry Brigade at Mississippi’s Camp Shelby, according to Fox News. An unidentified soldier attending the meeting said that when the subject of the upcoming Christmas football game was brought up, the officer immediately told the attendees that the word “Christmas” couldn’t be used. “Our equal opportunity representative stopped the briefing and told us that we can’t say Christmas,” the soldier told Fox News. “Almost the entire room blew up. Everybody was frustrated. The equal opportunity rep told our commander that not everyone celebrates Christmas and we couldn’t say Christmas celebration. It had to be holiday celebration.” When a brief, heated discussion on political correctness ensued, the equal opportunity officer said those weren’t her rules — they were the Army’s. “She said an individual can say Christmas, but as an organization in the Army, you can’t say Christmas,” the soldier said. The soldier has since hired a lawyer “It’s unbelievable that the Army would ban ‘Christmas’ like it’s a bad word,” said Michael Berry, an attorney with the Liberty Institute, a legal firm representing the soldier. “Are they going to have the ‘Merry Christmas’ police going around issuing citations to an soldier who slips and says the word? They’re treating Christmas like it’s pornography. As a matter of fact, the Army actually treats pornography better than it does Christmas.”...more

Students, parents upset that Christmas cards won't go to local veterans due to policy

They thought it was a kind holiday gesture, but dozens of Prosper students didn't get to deliver the Christmas cards they made for local veterans because of a VA policy against specific religious cards and phrasing. The cards are still in North Texas, and the writers are disappointed their thank you's won't be seen by the people they were intended for. "I'm hoping that it might make their day because their family might live far away, and they might not have somebody to celebrate Christmas with and I'd like them to know they've not been forgotten and somebody wanted to say thank you," said fourth grader Gracie Brown. Gracie and her brother, Luke, put a lot of thought and effort into their Christmas cards. "It includes ‘Merry Christmas,' and when you open it up, it says 'Thank you for your service' and the American flag," said Luke. Fifty-two students at Grace Academy in Prosper spent Friday making the cards they planned to hand deliver to bedridden veterans at the VA hospital in Dallas Monday morning. The cards were the idea of Susan Chapman, a math teacher at Grace Academy. She's married to a veteran and volunteers with the American Legion and other veterans' organizations. "It really didn't occur to me there would be a problem with distributing Christmas cards," said Chapman. She didn't find out about the VA's holiday card policy until she called Monday morning to arrange details for the cards' delivery. "I told him my students made cards, we'd like to bring them down for the veterans," said Chapman. "And he said, 'That's great. We're thrilled to have them, except the only thing is, we can't accept anything that says ‘Merry Christmas' or ‘God bless you' or any scriptural references because of all the red tape.'" An spokesperson for the VA clarified the policy Monday, which is in the Veterans Health Administration handbook, by stating the following:

"In order to be respectful of our Veterans religious beliefs, all donated holiday cards are reviewed by a multi-disciplinary team of staff led by Chaplaincy services and determined if they are appropriate (non-religious) to freely distribute to patients. After the review is complete, the holiday cards that reference religious and/or secular tones are then distributed by Chaplaincy Service on a one-on-one basis if the patient agrees to the religious reference in the holiday card donation. The holiday cards that do not contain religious and/or secular tones are distributed freely to patients across the Health Care System. We regret this process was not fully explained to this group and apologize for any misunderstanding."

So they have a "multidisciplinary team" review all "holiday" cards.  Sounds eerily like Obamacare's death squads.

‘Duck Dynasty’: Cracker Barrel Reverses Decision to Pull Products

Tennesse-based retailer Cracker Barrel did a quick about-face on Sunday and restored “Duck Dynasty”-related products to its shelves, barely two days after pulling some items out of fear of offending customers. Execs with the Cracker Barrel Old Country Store chain undoubtedly responded to the overwhelming number of critical comments on its Facebook page after it posted a statement Friday explaining that it was yanking some items related to the A&E Network show and from the company run by the Robertson family at the center of the show. On Sunday, Cracker Barrel, posted another statement on Facebook acknowledging what it described as its “mistake.”...more

Opponents say new Icelandic road would disturb elves

In Iceland, 13 trolls known as  the "Yule Lads" come to town during the 13 days before Christmas. This is Hurdaskellir or Door-Slammer, who likes to slam doors at night. Trolls and elves are an important part of Icelandic folklore, and many Icelanders say they believe in them

In this land of fire and ice, where the fog-shrouded lava fields offer a spooky landscape in which anything might lurk, stories abound of the "hidden folk" - thousands of elves, making their homes in Iceland's wilderness. So perhaps it was only a matter of time before 21st-century elves got political representation. Elf advocates have joined forces with environmentalists to urge the Icelandic Road and Coastal Commission and local authorities to abandon a highway project building a direct route from the Alftanes peninsula, where the president has a home, to the Reykjavik suburb of Gardabaer. They fear disturbing elf habitat and claim the area is particularly important because it contains an elf church. The project has been halted until the Supreme Court of Iceland rules on a case brought by a group known as Friends of Lava, who cite both the environmental and the cultural impact - including the impact on elves - of the road project. The group has regularly brought hundreds of people out to block the bulldozers. And it's not the first time issues about "Huldufolk," Icelandic for "hidden folk," have affected planning decisions. They occur so often that the road and coastal administration has come up with a stock media response for elf inquiries, which states that "issues have been settled by delaying the construction project at a certain point while the elves living there have supposedly moved on." Scandinavian folklore is full of elves, trolls and other mythological characters. Most people in Norway, Denmark and Sweden haven't taken them seriously since the 19th century, but elves are no joke to many in Iceland, population 320,000...more

The Crazy, Ingenious Plan to Bring Hippopotamus Ranching to America

In the early years of the last century, the U.S. Congress considered a bold and ingenious plan that would simultaneously solve two pressing problems — a national meat shortage and a growing ecological crisis. The plan was this: hippopotamus ranching. Hippos imported from Africa and raised in the bayous of Louisiana, proponents argued, would provide a delicious new source of protein for a meat-hungry nation. In the process, the animals would gobble up the invasive water hyacinth that was killing fish and choking off waterways. It would be an epic win-win. A bill was introduced in Congress, and newspaper editorials extolled the culinary virtues of “lake cow bacon.” This week in The Atavist, writer Jon Mooallem describes the hippo ranching scheme and the story of two fascinating men behind it: one a modest frontiersman and soldier of fortune, the other a self-aggrandizing con man. Both were spies. Each was sworn to kill the other. But the great cause of hippo ranching brought them together. Mooallem spoke with WIRED about this odd episode in American history and the future that might have been. An excerpt follows...more

And my favorite...Santa Shooting A Wolf

Monday, December 23, 2013

Cowgirl Sass & Savvy

The Christmas Pony

 By Julie Carter

My dad hated ponies, Shetland or otherwise. His heartfelt belief was that if you wanted to ride then do so on a real horse.

No one seems to really know what possessed him to bring home a Shetland pony for his kids that Christmas. We owned plenty of "real" horses.

In some sort of horse trade, he ended up with this short, barrel round, pitch black, Shetland. He was trading off a perfectly good bay two-year-old real horse for some cash. Somewhere in the deal, this small want-to-be horse got hauled back to the ranch.

He named him Mickey Mouse. Not for his color and not for the Disney character but because this midget was a Mickey Mouse version of what a horse was supposed to be.

Mickey repeatedly proved my dad's theory on why not to own a Shetland pony and it began on that very Christmas morning.

At daylight, Dad went to the barn to do chores. He had the pony hidden in the barn but Mickey needed water. We had no water hydrants or tanks in the barn or the corrals. Water was the creek that ran along the bottom of the small trap below the corrals.

So Dad bridled the wee equine and jumped on him bareback to ride him to water. At some point during the process Mickey reared up, sliding Dad off his back. He landed hard on his back pockets on the hard frozen ground, breaking his tailbone -- a painful reminder of his dislike for Shetlands.

Mickey Mouse, in every way, defined spoiled, barn soured, obnoxious and aggravating. If you rode him anywhere, he spent the entire time figuring out a way to unload you and make a run for the barn. His only redeeming quality was he'd run away with his head high and to the side so as not to break the dragging bridle reins.

While not our preference for a saddle horse, we did use him in other ways. He made a comical if not functional pack horse for our "kid" pack trips. We would cinch a pack saddle to him and tie to that all our treasures for the day that had been wrapped in an old green army blanket.

The mound on his back would be so huge it usually took a kid walking on each side holding the pack to keep it on the top side. Off we would go, lumbering up the road a mile or so to create our pretend world of cowboys and Indians and hunting camps.

In the height of his career, Mickey became the source of total indignation for my brother. Summer was irrigation time for all those hay meadows and Mickey was the assigned mode of transportation for the long-legged boy.

Shovel in hand, he would slip up on the pony bareback and head off for a day of directing water over hay fields. Dad told him he couldn't waste a good saddle horse on that job.

In the winter Mickey pulled a toboggan in the meadow for us -- but only one direction. We'd jimmy-rig some sort of harness for him and hook it to the sled. Then we led him to the top end of a long meadow, turned him towards home and let him go. Dependably, he would run as hard as he could back to the barn. It was always a wild ride.

None of us kids have ever forgotten Mickey Mouse. And none of us have owned a pony since then. Some lessons tend to "take" better than others.

Julie can be reached for comment at

A Glimpse of Heaven

There are angels among us
A Glimpse of Heaven
The Christmas promise
By Stephen L. Wilmeth

             Our ranch investment was new and chaotic.
            We neighbored a rancher who was very incensed one of our bulls was on him. I didn’t get the call, but he called Kathy and read her the right act. When she finally got me, she was distraught. I told her I would take care of it.
            I hadn’t taken a horse to the ranch that day, so I had to resort to riding a horse that had been on the ranch in the transition. I had ridden him at least twice and I knew he was not to be taken lightly.
I was very aware of the situation.
The wreck
Our full time cowboy was with me that day and he had to check a pump so, after we unloaded the horse, he left. I knew he might not be back until sundown.
I took my time pulling the cinch. We went through the normal bronc routine including ‘tres jueltes de la muerta’. I was wary of the horse. I mounted him and sat there talking to him and putting my hands on him before we left.
I don’t remember much after that.
I do remember trying to pull his head around to me as he ran bucking. There was a flurry of color, and, then, it was all gone … dark.
I awoke heaving for air. I held one broken rein in my left hand. The horse was grazing 50 yards away.
I couldn’t get up. I finally crawled back to the water trough where it all began. I remember leaning back against the cool trough feeling dizzy. I either passed out or went to sleep.
When I awoke I knew I had to get to my truck four miles away at the headquarters. I got to my feet, but I felt all loose in my upper torso.
I staggered to the horse and caught him. Thinking there was no way I could walk I had to try to mount him. I knew I couldn’t jump to catch a stirrup so I led him into a cut where I mounted him.
He immediately tried to buck again … but I was able to step off onto the edge of the cut. I held him up with the left rein I had retied when I remounted him.
The walk
My granddad’s silver horned Seitzler saddle was on the horse and I wasn’t about to turn him loose with it, couldn’t pack it, so I would lead him packing the saddle. I wasn’t going to mount him again.
I had a dilemma. There were two choices. The first was to go over the hill on the county road. It was the only opportunity to hail a ride, but I was hesitant because I wasn’t sure I could make the climb. The second choice was to go down the valley and follow the Butterfield Trail to the house. The latter was the easier walk, but it meant I was on my own if things got bad.
I chose the latter.
By the time I got to New Joy Tank, my vision had become two points of light way out there. I worked hard at getting a full breath of air. I forced myself to concentrate.
The last mile to the house was a stumbling exercise of endurance.
The drive to the highway.
The walk into yard was both a relief and a dreaded event. I had to unsaddle the horse and I was not sure I could hold the saddle when I pulled it off. I knew I couldn’t bend over to pick it up. I had one chance.
I uncinched the horse, pulled and caught the saddle with my right hand, and lifted it into the truck in one fell motion. I lead the horse to the corral and turned him loose. I never saw him again.
I then had to climb into my pickup. That was accomplished with my chest cavity sloshing. I sat there. I wasn’t sure I could drive.
My cell phone rang. Our cattle partner called. He asked how things were going and I told him briefly in the whisper I could muster I was hurt. He told me he would meet me at the highway.
It is seven miles to the highway. I didn’t drive fast, but I didn’t drive slowly either. I struggled mightily just keeping my eyes focused.
When I drove up to the corrals at our entrance, he drove off the freeway. He drove the 26 miles from town in the same time I had driven seven from the headquarters. We transferred my saddle, and I climbed into his truck on its stepped side.
I asked him for his ever present painkiller and took all nine pills in the bottle. We had called Kathy, but I called her again to tell her we were on the way. By the time the pills was kicking in and I suggested maybe I ought to just go on home and get in bed.
My suggestion was refused.
The Emergency Room
We arrived at the emergency room entrance and attendants were waiting. I declined the gurney ride and walked into the hospital. I met the attending physician, Dr. Marcy Gillespie. She would become my angel.
She first asked me what I thought was wrong and I told her I had broken ribs. She asked me why I thought that and I said something about ‘because I have broken ribs’. People were around me trying to cut my clothes off, but, when they started trying to cut my leggins’ off, I scattered them!
They helped me ‘take’ them off.
When they insisted, I told them I couldn’t raise my arms for an X-ray. To prove the point, I passed out when I tried. They took them without raising my arms.
I can remember my wife and Dr. Gillespie studying at the X-rays on the wall display. Later, Kathy would tell me that all ribs on my left side above a shadow were broken. Dr. Gillespie suspected those within the shadow, blood accumulation above my diaphragm, were broken as well.
As I watched them … I died.
Toward heaven
I experienced it, but others may find solace in it.
Normally, when it has been described, I preface those few minutes with the fact that I was there the whole time. It started with a funny sensation … almost like a tingling and reactionary response much like biting into a lemon.
Kathy remembers my response as if I was shaking my head. I found a degree of relief from it by pushing harder back into the pillow.
Then I was released from all feel sensations …for a while.
There was ongoing sound around me. There was clatter and a degree of chaos. I distinctly heard the doctor call what I remember as, “Give me a number 20 cutter!”
What I remember most was not the confusion around me, but the absolute peacefulness within me. I was not above the scene but I wasn’t necessarily within the scene either. I witnessed people scrambling without seeing people scrambling.
All the while, I can only describe what must be interpreted as narration of the event to myself.
“Why are they all upset,” I said and acknowledged repeatedly. “Everything is fine.”
“Everything is going to be okay.”
I was warm … amazingly, comfortably warm.
I saw no clear, distinct light, but everything was bright with clarity.
I saw no one or any other scene other than my immediate surroundings, but there was never any fear. I don’t think I saw distinct faces of anyone. There was just overpowering calm and peace. It was a good place … it was a very good place.
Then, far away I felt something.
“You must concentrate on that,” I told myself. “You must concentrate.”
“Damn, that hurts,” or something with more emphasis I was purportedly to have said. I recognized immediately it was Dr. Gillespie by me. All feeling had returned and the immense calmness vanished.
 “Welcome back,” she said in a near whisper, “Let me do something about that (pain).”
She had been cutting me and inserting tubes into my chest. She saved my life.
Years later we were in the emergency room as the result of another horse wreck. It wasn’t me, but it was someone very precious to me, a granddaughter. As luck would have it, my angel was an attending physician.
When confirmation was made that nothing serious was at hand, I found her at the nurses’ station. I hugged her and announced to the gathered crew how lucky I was, and, it was because of her, that I stood there that day.
Neither of us … could say another thing.

Stephen L. Wilmeth is a rancher from southern New Mexico. “It was a good place. It was a glimpse of what we have been promised … Merry Christmas.” 

White House tries to prevent judge from ruling on NSA surveillance

The Obama administration has filed papers to prevent a federal judge from issuing a ruling on whether the government's warrantless surveillance programs are constitutional. The government argued, that despite recent leaks by former NSA contractor Edward Snowden, further revelation's about the NSA's surveillance and data collection programs could put the government's security at risk if they were divulged in court, he wrote. "Disclosure of this still-classified information regarding the scope and operational details of N.S.A. intelligence activities implicated by plaintiffs' allegations could be expected to cause extremely grave damage to the national security of the United States," Clapper wrote. Arguing that it can continue to assert its state secrets privilege to block information from being used in a court, the Justice Department has asked US District Court Judge Jeffrey S. White to dismiss the case without ruling on whether the programs violated the First or Fourth Amendments of the Constitution. The court had earlier ordered the government to evaluate how Snowden's leaks had affected it invocation of the state secrets privilege. Plaintiffs in the cases, including the Electronic Freedom Foundation, have until late January to respond. "The government seems to be trying to reset the clock to before June 2013 or even December 2005," EFF Legal Director Cindy Cohn said in a statement. "But the American people know that their communications are being swept up by the government under various NSA programs. The government's attempt to block true judicial review of its mass, untargeted collection of content and metada by pretending that the basic facts about how the spying affects the American people are still secret is both outrageous and disappointing." The filing comes on the heels of another federal judge's ruling earlier this week that the NSA's data collection activities were likely unconstitutional...more

Cops to Congress: We need logs of Americans' text messages

AT&T, Verizon Wireless, Sprint, and other wireless providers would be required to record and store information about Americans' private text messages for at least two years, according to a proposal that police have submitted to the U.S. Congress. CNET has learned a constellation of law enforcement groups has asked the U.S. Senate to require that wireless companies retain that information, warning that the lack of a current federal requirement "can hinder law enforcement investigations." They want an SMS retention requirement to be "considered" during congressional discussions over updating a 1986 privacy law for the cloud computing era -- a move that could complicate debate over the measure and erode support for it among civil libertarians. As the popularity of text messages has exploded in recent years, so has their use in criminal investigations and civil lawsuits. They have been introduced as evidence in armed robbery, cocaine distribution, and wire fraud prosecutions. In one 2009 case in Michigan, wireless provider SkyTel turned over the contents of 626,638 SMS messages, a figure described by a federal judge as "staggering." Chuck DeWitt, a spokesman for the Major Cities Chiefs Police Association, which represents the 63 largest U.S. police forces including New York City, Los Angeles, Miami, and Chicago, said "all such records should be retained for two years." Some providers, like Verizon, retain the contents of SMS messages for a brief period of time, while others like T-Mobile do not store them at all. Along with the police association, other law enforcement groups making the request to the Senate include the National District Attorneys' Association, the National Sheriffs' Association, and the Association of State Criminal Investigative Agencies, DeWitt said...more

Much Ado About Blubber: Marine Biologist Faces Fines, Probation for Research

Nancy Black has dedicated her career to the research and conservation of wildlife. Now, she will have a criminal record and potentially faces a $100,000 fine, five years’ probation, and 300 hours of community service. Because of blubber. We previously wrote about Nancy, a nationally renowned marine biologist who has been described as the “guru of killer whales in Monterey Bay.” Nancy, who has a permit to research orcas, operates two whale-watching boats to support her research. On April 25, 2004, and again on April 11, 2005, Nancy and her crew encountered a pod of orcas feasting on the blubber of a dead gray whale. In order to film this underwater activity, Nancy instructed her crew to remove a piece of the blubber, attach it to the boat with a rope, and put it back in the water. In an unrelated incident, on October 12, 2005, the captain of one of her vessels whistled at a humpback whale hoping that the noise would keep the whale in the vicinity. A crew member on her other boat encouraged passengers to make similar noises. Black reprimanded both employees for these actions. When the captain’s wife called the authorities to find out whether her husband had done anything wrong, an investigator with the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration initiated an investigation into potential harassment of the whale, a federal offense. He contacted Nancy, who told him that she had a videotape of the incident. She voluntarily provided him with the videotape, but did not tell him that she had edited it to remove what she thought was extraneous footage; it included the captain whistling, but not the other boat’s crew member egging on the passengers. On January 5, 2012, the Department of Justice filed a four-count indictment. Not against the whistling captain. Not against the crew member. Against Nancy. She was charged with two felony counts for providing an edited video to the officer and failing to tell the officer that it was edited, as well as two misdemeanor violations of the Marine Mammal Protection Act (MMPA) for “feeding” killer whales. The government also sought forfeiture of her boats...more

The Duck Dynasty setup

by John Hayward

I've been saying since Friday that I thought someone at the A&E network was actively out to get the Robertson family and shut "Duck Dynasty" down. Maybe it's an internal power play at the network, a couple of executives enforcing their ideology on the rest, or maybe it's the entire executive clique at headquarters, perhaps after protracted nudging from liberal pressure groups. The whole Phil Robertson suspension happened way too fast to be a bolt from the blue, especially given the enormous size of the show's audience. Knee-jerk censorship as a snap decision is harder to swallow when you're talking about the network's top show, the biggest program of its type in cable TV history.

Well, well, well, what do you know... it turns out the network had a publicist in the room with Phil Robertson when he gave much of his fateful interview to GQ magazine. And yet, no attempt at damage control was made, either during or after the interview. That's a bit curious, isn't it? The network didn't do diddly-squat to stand up for the star of its top show. His comments have been widely distorted and misquoted, but A&E hasn't lifted a finger to make it clear precisely what he said, and exactly why they find it an offense that merits suspension...

At dinner this evening, friends asked why A&E would deliberately maneuver to shut down their cash-cow program. It seems like a horrendously stupid move from a business standpoint, costing untold viewers while placating people who aren't going to have the numbers or interest to replace that lost audience. Part of the answer can be seen from A&E's darkly humorous decision to blanket the Christmas week airwaves with "Duck Dynasty" marathons, starring liberal culture's latest Emmanuel Goldstein, Phil Robertson. They've already got the bulk of another season in the can, and might have gambled the show would have started losing steam after that. They might not believe they're throwing away quite as much ad revenue as many observers seem to believe.

And they don't really have to worry about losing "viewers," since they're sold as part of bundled cable TV services; it's very difficult to stop paying for the network. They might have been more worried about GLAAD-organized boycotts, a fear that runs contrary to the threadbare results of boycott threats against companies like Chick-fil-A, but of course if the A&E executives already disliked "Duck Dynasty," they wouldn't pay much attention to such recent history.

The other factor that occurs to me is that A&E execs might have been worried about a backlash, or blacklist, from Hollywood, where the enthusiastic embrace of homosexuality and same-sex marriage is absolutely mandatory. Sooner or later, "Duck Dynasty" would begin to fade, but a lingering blacklist from Hollywood that hindered the network's other programs, or injured the other creative enterprises of the network's owners (i.e. Disney) would do a lot of damage over the long term. There are rational calculations that make the wrath of Hollywood more fearsome than the ire of 12 or 14 million viewers, many of whom would get over their anger and resume partaking of the network's entertainment products before too long, and very few of whom have any real way to stop putting money into A&E's coffers anyway.

'Duck Dynasty' Family Believe A&E 'Hung [Them] Out To Dry'

Duck Dynasty star Phil Robertson and his family believe they have been ‘hung out to dry’ by TV network A&E after he was suspended for homophobic comments made in a magazine interview, MailOnline can reveal. Sources within the close-knit Louisiana clan say they are convinced A&E are manipulating the controversial situation to bring them – and particularly Robertson – back into line after Television executives grew tired of the family pushing their deeply-held, Christian beliefs. They also think the network could have done something to stop the controversial GQ article being made public, because an A&E representative was present during the interview with patriarch, Roberston, 67. A source close to the family, who asked not to be named, told MailOnline: ‘You have to ask yourself, why this interview happened and why it ever became public. Someone from A&E was there and was aware of the kind of answers Phil was giving. ‘But despite that, they didn’t ever try to stop it or control it. Instead, they let it hit the headlines and then released a statement condemning it. ‘It is our belief that they knew what was going to happen and then used the situation to exercise control over Phil. ‘It is our understanding that when the TV executives came up with the concept for the show they wanted it to be a case of people laughing at a bunch of backward rednecks. ‘But when it didn’t turn out like that and people actually started identifying with the way the family behaved and were laughing with them, not at them, they became uncomfortable. It did not sit will with the New York TV types...more

Texas artist Mary Ross Buchholz honors the traditions of western life

Where the vastness of the flat West Texas landscape begins to ease into gently rolling hills, artist Mary Ross Buchholz and her husband, Bob, were walking a portion of ranchland 18 years ago, deciding where to build their home. They stopped in the shade of a live oak tree and looked around. It was a spot, they knew, where cattle liked to bed down, which meant it was more likely than other places to catch a cool breeze. So they chose that location for their house. “We were just thinking about how the old timers would know what to do,” Buchholz remembers, sitting in the neat, functional studio she and Bob later added onto their home. Time-tested wisdom about living on the land and raising livestock, passed down through generations, is part of what Buchholz cherishes about western life. It’s what she expresses in her remarkable pencil drawings, which document the animals, people, and everyday life of a working ranch—primarily her family’s ranch. Spread out over several West Texas counties and originally worked by various branches of her family and Bob’s, the ranch represents a continuity of tradition reaching back centuries in Mary’s mother’s family, and at least five generations on her father’s side. Steeped in such long tradition, Buchholz infuses her work with a sense of authenticity that clearly resonates with collectors drawn to a classic vision of western life—collectors with on-the-range experience and those for whom her art is a reminder of the beauty, history, and culture of the American West. Among the 44-year-old artist’s top awards in recent years are her selection as Signature Artist at the America’s Horse in Art Show; First Place and an Award of Excellence at American Plains Artists exhibitions; and the Artists’ Choice Award at the National Cowgirl Museum and Hall of Fame’s Heart of the West show...more

Matriarchs Of The Range

Mugging Mania

Branding Time

Ranch Radio Song Of The Day #1173

Its Swingin' Monday on Ranch Radio and here's Ramblin' Tommy Scott - Santa Claus Shuffle. Scott passed away in October of this year at the age of 96.  Here's a short bio:
Artist Biography
b. Tommy Lee Scott, 24 June 1917, Stephens County, Georgia, USA. Scott learned to play guitar (and later piano) as a boy and first worked on radio in 1930. In 1931, he formed the Georgia Peanut Band and did ‘blackface’ comedy as Peanut. He worked solo on radio in Raleigh, Greenville and Augusta, and for 18 months, he was a regular on the Wheeling Jamboree. He became associated with the Herb-O-Lac Medicine Show, which was founded in 1890 by ‘Doc’ M.F. Chamberlain, who operated it until 1936, when he passed on the formula to Scott and asked him to continue to operate the show. In 1939, he played with Charlie Monroe’s Original Kentucky Partners, where he met Curly Sechler and Fiddlin’ Dale Cole. He did serious vocals, but at times, also worked comedy with Sechler as Ramblin’ Scotty And Smilin’ Bill and blackface comedy with Cole as Midnight And Peanut. During 1939/40, he marketed his own medicine, under the Manoree trademark, on Monroe’s program and sold 10, 000 bottles a week. A dispute saw him leave and move to WHAS Louisville, where he used his own Herb-O-Lac trademark. He was joined by Stringbean and they worked blackface comedy as Stringbean And Peanut (in the 50s, they toured for two years in the USA and Canada). In 1941, Scott played the Grand Ole Opry, where he sang, did comedy and performed ventriloquism with a dummy known as Luke McLuke. He then worked on radio and toured for two years with Sechler. Between 1943 and 1947, he toured theatres nationwide and played numerous radio stations, including the powerful Border Radio stations of Monterrey, Del Rio and Tiajuana.

In 1945, he recorded 52 15-minute radio shows for network use for the American Tobacco Company (they were later changed to 26 30-minute specials). He appeared in the B-westernTrail Of The Hawk and made several musical shorts for Astor pictures. His touring show included his wife Frankie (d. 17 April 2004, Toccoa, Georgia, USA, aged 84) (who did magic), daughter Sandra Yvette, his long-time friend Old Bleb (Gaines Blevins who toured with him for well over 30 years) and Blevins’ son, Scotty Lee, plus musicians and other artists. When radio stations cut back on regular shows, Scott concentrated more and more on touring and sometimes, spending over 350 days on the road per year, he played all over the USA and Canada. While many young musicians received valuable experience with Scott, old friends, such as Clyde Moody, also toured. Scott also featured silver-screen cowboys such as Sunset Carson, Johnnie Mack Brown and Colonel Tim McCoy, who actually toured with him for 13 years. In the 90s, Scott was still touring, with what he described as ‘America’s Last Real Medicine Show’, although seemingly he had halved the time on the road and spent more at his home in Toccoa, Georgia. He recorded for various labels, including 4-Star and King, and some early recordings were reissued in the 80s by the German Cattle label, who did a reasonable job of trying to improve the relatively poor recording quality of some of the original recordings.

He also recorded with both Sechler and Moody. Reference to his Medicine Show literature (which lavishly advertises his Herb-O-Lac Compound and Snake Oil Liniment) would indicate that over almost 60 years, there can be few major country artists with whom he has not appeared and few major US or Canadian programes on which he has not been featured. In 1976 Scott was inducted into the Country Music Hall Of Fame.

Sunday, December 22, 2013

The Westerner's Sunday edition will be out visiting for the holidays.